Brittany Fuisz is not your average beverage entrepreneur. As an experienced marketer with a culinary degree, she conceptualized the idea for malibu mylk, an organic, vegan flaxseed dairy alternative, right from her own kitchen. The newly launched beverage is carving a unique niche in the space and is on a mission to change the way the world is drinking plant-based milk.
We caught up with Fuisz to learn more about how she conceptualized malibu mylk, how her first hires are helping to build the culture of the team, and more.
ForceBrands: You have an interesting background that’s not necessarily from the CPG world; what inspired you to launch a plant-based beverage?
Brittany Fuisz: I was dealing with some health issues and went to see a functional medicine doctor. She did some testing and decided I should try an elimination diet known as an auto-immune protocol. I eliminated nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, and gluten. I went searching for a milk alternative and wasn’t able to find anything that fit my diet. I was also super disenchanted with all the options on the market. They were filled with artificial ingredients, were unsustainable, and very few were organic. Then I had a lightbulb go off — I thought, ‘What if I make mylk from flax…’ I went home, pulled out my blender, and was delighted at the creamy, milky drink that was created! malibu mylk was born.
FB: What about your background, in particular, do you think makes you most qualified to drive the success of malibu mylk in such a competitive space?
BF: I went to culinary school so I like to think I have a decent palate. I studied marketing and have had a longtime love affair with all things food and beverage. I also believe I have a good eye and noticed white space in an otherwise crowded market.
FB: How is the product different from other dairy alternatives on the market?
BF: malibu mylk is organic, full of fiber, omega-3s, and protein. We do not fortify. All our nutrients are occurring naturally from the whole flaxseed. Unlike most other plant-based mylks, we use the whole flaxseed and do not strain it out. We keep all of it in the mylk and grind it up into tiny particles. This is what makes our product so nutritious.
FB: How have you approached funding?
BF: Very carefully! It took longer than I thought it would but ultimately whoever you choose to work with can have a large impact on your business, so choose wisely!
FB: What does your distribution strategy look like?
BF: We’re focused on California and New York at the moment, but we’re about to launch in Texas. We wanted to start on the coasts before moving inward.
FB: When it comes to team building and making those strategic first key hires, how did you go about sourcing great talent to help build the brand?
BF: As silly as it may sound, I felt like my first two hires came to me with a bit of serendipity. These are very important roles, not only because the company is so young but because these people will help to form our culture in this early stage of the business.
FB: Are there any mentors you admire most when it comes to building successful consumer brands?
BF: Peter Rahal (RXBAR) and Vanessa Dew (Health-Ade Kombucha) have both been incredibly helpful and have given me a ton of guidance.
FB: Let’s chat about the gender gap in the industry (since March is Women’s History Month) — besides leading by example, are there any initiatives you’ve taken, or plan to take, to make the space more accessible for women?
BF: My first two part-time hires were both females and minorities and are still with the business going on almost a year now! We are proud to have so many women on our team.
FB: What does the growth plan look like for the next 3-5 years for malibu mylk? What excites you most about the future of the brand?
BF: We want to expand distribution and change the way the world is drinking plant-based mylk. We’re excited to open up more doors and eventually come out with new items. It’s so wonderful to be building something that is not only good for our bodies but also good for our planet!
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